Draft Chesapeake Bay WIP Open for Comments

January 2012Articles In the Zone

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) recently released Pennsylvania’s Draft Phase 2 Chesapeake Watershed Implementation Plan (draft Phase 2 WIP) as part of its mandated requirement to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Forty-three counties in Pennsylvania contribute to the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The draft Phase 2 WIP was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on December 15, 2011 – with formal notification appearing in the PA Bulletin – and outlines the state’s plan to address the EPA’s expectations that the states develop a Phase 2 WIP so that local partners (1) are aware of the WIP strategies; (2) understand their contribution to meeting the TMDL allocations; and (3) have been provided with the opportunity to suggest any refinements to the WIP strategies.

The draft Phase 2 WIP was developed to meet the EPA’s August 1, 2011, revised nutrient and sediment allocations for the TMDL. The allocations are the result of the EPA’s development of a revised watershed model.

According to the EPA’s current watershed model, when compared to 1985, Pennsylvania has achieved 27 percent of the nitrogen reductions, 31 percent of the phosphorus reductions and 50 percent of the total suspended sediment reductions needed to reach the 2025 restoration targets. When compared to current 2010 progress reported by the watershed model, Pennsylvania still needs to achieve an additional 33.23 million pound reduction in nitrogen, 1.26 million pound reduction in phosphorus and 524.4 million pound reduction in sediment by 2025 to aid in restoring water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Failure to meet pollutant contribution reductions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed may result in the EPA tightening limits on permits and/or denying permits outright.

Sen. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) hosted a briefing with the EPA, PADEP and other officials outlining the Commonwealth’s draft Phase 2 WIP. (Watch video – click on each speaker name to hear their respective briefings.)

The PADEP is accepting comments from the public on the draft Phase 2 WIP until January 30, 2012.

For more information, please contact Kimberly A. Freimuth.